This weekend I realized I’m too old to play Jet Set Radio. I thought it was fun when I had the Xbox version quite a number of years ago but I never finished it before I sold my 360.
That’s why I snapped up this game when it arrived on PS+, but I’d forgotten how much reflexes count in this game. I did the tutorial and was fumbling like a jackass trying to make my cool sk8er boi do his sick tricks. Finally I gave up and uninstalled the game. I think I could have gotten my old skills back but I don’t have the time to be practising and I don’t really want to finish the game that badly. Ah well.
By the way, this is the trailer for the HD re-release in 2012, not the original trailer from back when.
Q: You and your wife, Walker Weatherford, spend your summers in Mongolia. What makes Mongolia so special to you both?
A: Walker and I are now legal residents of Mongolia and spend five months a year in our home there. I have learned more from seeing how the Mongolians deal with Walker, who has multiple sclerosis, than from all the books I’ve read. She is in a wheelchair, mostly paralyzed, and barely able to speak. Of course, in Mongolia there are no special facilities for disabled people; the streets and sidewalks are a jumble of broken cement and open holes. Yet when we step out of our building, hands always appear. No one says, “May I help you?” They simply do it and disappear, expecting no thanks. I never have to ask for help. Every week a few musicians come by to play the horse-head fiddle and sing for Walker, in the belief that music is the best medicine. Pop singers and hip-hop groups have come for the same purpose, saying that it will keep our home warm. One singer who spoke no English learned to sing “Only You” by The Platters because it’s a song Walker loves. People from all over the countryside send us dairy products. Our kitchen is usually full of yoghurt, hard cream, curds, mare’s milk, mutton, horse ribs, and wild berries. Lamas, shamans, and healers come by to offer prayers, incense, herbal teas, chants, massage, and other forms of traditional treatments. Even strangers send camel wool or cashmere blankets, shawls, and socks to keep Walker warm. Mongolia has welcomed us with a care and warmth I can scarcely comprehend. The greatest honor for the two of us is not any official recognition but these daily acts of concern, along with the young parents who have asked us to name their newborn children. Their request illustrates how much they want to keep the connection with their past and pass it on to their children. I feel that through these children whom we have named, Walker and I will be a part of Mongolia for another generation, long after we are gone.
I asked around a bit. Do you remember this book the protagonist of Your Lie in April was reading in the fifth episode?
I’d mistaken it for The Little Prince, but my informants tell me that it’s actually Usotsuki no tensai(The Genius Liar) by Ulf Stark. It doesn’t appear to have ever had an English translation, so I’m not certain what the thematic significance of the book is, but the title suggests that the book was deliberately chosen to convey, well, something. I’ll do some more digging and see if I can find out more.
Hinamatsuri is a manga about a powerful young psychic who’s adopted by a yakuza gang member. You might think it’s an action series fill of violent battles, secret conspiracies, and barely disguised metaphors comparing child soldiers to the academic pressure placed on modern Japanese kids. However, it’s actually a comedy about the daily nothings in the lives of a group of slackers and screw-ups.
The main character mostly eats, sleeps, and watches TV, while she uses her powers to move her video game controller so she can keep her hands free for eating potato chips. Of the people sent to capture her, one ends up homeless and sleeping in the park, while the other almost starves to death in a crappy apartment because she ran out of money. Her adoptive yakuza father accidentally gets her to attack a rival gang, but otherwise the most he’s done to exploit her is to use her existence to elicit a sympathy date from a woman he was pursuing.
Wisely, the author knows how superb the side characters are and does not hesitate to shift focus to them. Over time the series becomes more of an ensemble comedy. For instance, there’s a running gag about the protagonist’s 13 year old classmate that begins with her accidentally getting a job as a bartender and slowly builds up over time, culminating in the classmate being trained as a sniper at a Special Forces boot camp.